“… the purpose of this tour is to excite people’s imaginations and to get them to think ingeniously about growing fruits and vegetables in places that they hadn’t ever thought of growing. —Corinne Gosnell, Finch House Cottages
The official name is Farm Your Yard Forest Grove Kitchen Garden Tour, an annual Portland area event, this year sponsored by the Dairy Creek Community Food Web.
For some looking in, it’s possible that the concept of backyard food gardens, local food economies, and integrated food webs are foreign concepts. And that’s part of the impetus behind the event, to get people energized over the possibilities to grow food in their own backyard. For those that already have a food garden, this tour also provides inspirational examples of what’s possible to do even on very small plots of land.
The idea is to meet a portion of your annual food needs by growing your own food and gleaning food from area neighbors for a variety of reasons. Some may be driven to produce food that’s fresher and better tasting than they can find (or afford) at the grocery store. Some, it’s a political act to demonstrate self-resourcefulness and express their disdain for a broken food system by reducing the amounts of outside food purchases. And for others still, it may simply be for the love of growing food or some mix of the above. Regardless of the actual motivation to farm, growing food in one’s own living space makes economic and environmental sense.
For an entirely different reason, during the two World Wars, food gardens (often referred to as Victory gardens) were commonplace. It was a way for ordinary citizens to help the war effort by producing some of their own food at home. By reducing the public’s demand for food, that increased the available commercial supply for the troops.
This food garden tour has 11 different farms participating, of which three are highlighted in the video. Corrine Gosnell, Finch House Cottages grows flowers and fruit trees, Charlene Murdock, who along with her husband Richard White, have an acre urban farm Nana Cardoon Agricultural Learning Gardens. The third urban farm is a young couple, Mark and Rachel, Good Steward Garden, who grow “strawberries, rhubarb, beets, hops (for making beer), wheat, corn, cherries, garlic, lettuce, spinach tomatoes, pumpkins, cucumbers, onions and peppers” on only 900 sq. feet of front-yard space!
The Dairy Creek Community Food Web seeks to facilitate “connections between local food systems”. That means, eaters, landowners, government agencies, educators and others are all part of a region’s food system and finding ways to work together helps to strengthen local communities and increase local food security.
Here are some additional photos from the farms we visited: